ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday Indian Premier Narendra Modi made a “historic blunder” by revoking occupied Kashmir’s special status and stressed that time had come for Pakistan’s Kashmir policy to take a “decisive” turn.
In his address to the nation on the Kashmir issue and the government’s strategy on the situation in the occupied territory, the prime minister pledged that he would act as an ambassador for the Kashmiris and raise the issue at every forum.
“Narendra Modi has made a huge blunder in arrogance… now, this is a historic moment for the Kashmiris to realise their decades-long dream of achieving freedom from India,” he said, in his speech broadcast live on the national television.
Khan started his address by saying that he wanted to take the nation into confidence on the situation in Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK). He urged people to take out some time every week and hold demonstrations for the Kashmiris.
The prime minister said time had come for Pakistan’s Kashmir policy to take a “decisive” turn. “When my government came into power, my first priority was to generate peace in the country. India and we share many problems; unemployment, inflation and climate change, etc,” he said.
According to the prime minister, Pakistan wanted friendly relations with every country but there was no positive response from India. He added that India was looking for opportunities to accuse Pakistan of terrorism.
“First they had elections coming up, so we waited for that to be over, we thought when elections would be over, the situation will be different. Then Pulwama happened… India, instead of introspecting, pointed fingers at us,” the prime minister said.
“After the elections, we saw that they tried their best to bankrupt Pakistan and tried to have Pakistan ‘blacklisted’ at the FATF [Financial Action Task Force]. That is when we decided we should not hold any talks with them because we realised they had a different agenda.”
Khan recalled that on August 5 New Delhi sent additional military troops to Kashmir and announced that it was now part of India. “This was against the vision of their founding fathers and United Nations resolutions,” he added.
“The message on August 5 was that India belongs to Hindus only and all others are second-class citizens.” Khan said, adding that it was the extremist ideology of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) — said to be the parent organisation of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Khan urged the people to understand the RSS ideology. “They (RSS) believe that Hindus are supreme and others are second-class citizens. They have the fascist ideology, they have been sidelined by India’s past government as a terrorist organisation,” he said.
“They were the ones who assassinated Gandhi for trying to promote Hindu-Muslim unity. After [former Indian prime minister Jawaharlal]Nehru’s death, the RSS ideology started gaining ground,” he added.
The prime minister warned that India was planning a false-flag operation to divert the world’s attention from occupied Kashmir. “We have received information that they were planning a false-flag operation like what they did in Balakot to divert attention from occupied Kashmir.”
Khan said that Pakistan has internationalised the Kashmir issue. “We won on the diplomatic front. We talked to heads of states, their embassies [and]the UN Security Council called a session on Kashmir for the first time since 1965,” he said.
However, he pointed out that people are disappointed that Muslim countries have not been siding with Kashmiris. “I want to tell you, don’t be disappointed; if some countries are not raising this issue because of their economic interests, they will eventually take this issue up, with time.”
Outlining the government’s future strategy to deal with the situation in occupied Kashmir, the prime minister announced that a ceremony would be held every week to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people. On this Friday, the nation will come out noon for a half-hour to show solidarity, he added.
“I believe, the entire nation should stand with the Kashmiris,” he said. “I have said this that I will act as Kashmir’s ambassador. I will tell the world about this. I have shared this with heads of states that I have been in contact with. I will raise this issue at the UN as well,” he added.
“I want to tell the Kashmiri people that whether the world stands with you or not, Pakistan will. They [India] have played their trump card. Now they have no card left to play with. Now, whatever needs to be done will be done by us and the world.”
Khan stressed that the UN made a promise to the people of Kashmir. Historically, he continued, world bodies have sided with the powerful countries “but the UN should know that 1.25 billion Muslims are looking towards it”.
Concluding his speech, he remarked that both Pakistan and India have nuclear weapons. “In a nuclear war, no one will win. It will not only wreak havoc in this region, but the entire world will also face consequences.”